Erosion Control on Christmas Tree Farms - Part 2 - Interview with Bob Schaefer.
= Better Decisions
Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gasses
and emit fresh oxygen. Every acre of Christmas trees grown
produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. Farms
that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies
and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green
belts. Often Christmas trees are grown on soil that won't
support other crops.
Real Christmas trees are grown on farms just like any other
crop making them a renewable resource.
Artificial trees are a petroleum-based product manufactured
primarily in Chinese factories. The average family uses an
artificial tree for only six to nine years before throwing
it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries
after disposal. According to The Sierra Club, “PVC products
are dangerous to our health and the environment from start
to finish -- in the factory, at home, and in the trash --
releasing poisonous chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.”
They are also partly made out of lead for the stand and limbs.
Many people are afraid of real trees catching fire but artificial
trees can catch fire as well. However the smoke produced from
PVC is much worse than that created by a real tree.
FIND A RECYCLING PROGRAM
To learn more about recycling programs in your community,
visit the EARTH 911 Web site @ www.earth911.org.
AT NOBLE MOUNTAIN TREE FARM
An integrated pest management program and an erosion control
plan have been in place since the early 1980s at Noble Mountain
Tree Farm. This has been an important part of our company’s
efforts to be true “stewards” of the land and
not only maintain, but improve our sustainability “footprint”.
Between rotations we not only rest our soil, but improve it
by adding appropriate nutrients and planting Sudan grass to
add several tons per acre of humus (green manure) building
material back into the soil. This helps significantly to keep
erosion from happening, in addition to its soil building benefits.
Noble Mountain Tree Farm developed a straw water bar erosion
control system in the 1980s which, when erosion measurements
were taken by the state Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation
Service, showed no appreciable erosion on even the steepest
slopes planted. Over 200 tons per year of grass straw is placed
throughout the farm to eradicate erosion potential. An additional
benefit is that residual seed in the straw germinates and
provides not only additional help with erosion control but
also cover and food for small birds and animals.